Applications of Entertainment Technology Among Female Users Kathryn Stevens
Introduction When examining existing research on female utilization of technology, several hypotheses are supported: Females are less likely to participate in academic discourse than males, and are more prone to being interrupted (Bailey and Telford, 243). These same users are more likely to use technology to communicate, particularly through email (Gemmill and Peterson, 280). Those users that are able to communicate via technology rather than in person are more likely than their male counterparts to participate in academic discourse (Hsi and Hoadley, 24).
Female Users Familiarity with Entertainment Technology Although research exists on female gaming culture(or lack thereof) there are gaps. Much of the research concentrates on the hypersexualization of avatars rather than female player experience (Martins, Williams, Harrison, and Ratan, 824). That research that does examine more in depth the female experience of gaming is hindered by a lack of mastery by the researchers when observing (Walkerdine, 524). Lara Croft
Implications of Pedagogy: There is a division in female/male use. The division occurs in specific “masculine/feminine” areas of interest.
Purpose: To examine levels of familiarity and participation in interactive entertainment technology in regard to female users. Are the same conventions observed in academic forums true in more casual entertainment?
Justification for Methodology An anonymous online survey (www.kwiksurvey.com) was used to gather data. This was done to utilize the encryption function to increase “[the] degree of privacy and confidentiality to research participants” (Banks and Eble, 39). Multiple choice format was used to standardize answers for percentages.
Target Demographic Users with high level of familiarity with technology- Facebook users and paid members of specialized online forums. Both male and female users were polled so that the data may be reasonably compared.
Research Findings: Overall female use is than male male. This is consistent in nearly all areas by at least one full percentage. Less
Communication Female use was described as less than male use in all areas of communication except email. This includes Facebook which has more female participants than male in the US (Su, 1).
Online Communities In the area of online communities, male users scored higher in all areas except one. When referred to ‘online communities’ the example used was Neopets.com. Neopets.com is a community whose main demographic targets female players attracted to cute avatars (Walkerdine, 524)
Male Entertainment Statistics Male users were 14% more likely to use entertainment technology on a frequent basis. However, female and male users all had comparable usage within a single percent except for in two areas. Neopetshad 3% higher female users PC based console games had 5% higher male users.
Contradictions: Communication The results directly contradict the hypothesis that females primarily use the internet as a communication tool. Males consistently scored higher on every aspect of social technology use in every category by at least a full percent.
Analyzing the Results: There is no clear cut division in technology. Rather there is an overall lack of female mastery. This supports the hypothesis that technology is a masculine domain when examining gender roles (Lageson, 14).
Researcher’s Conclusions The difficulty for female users to identify with technological entertainment that exemplifies "contemporary masculinity” (Walkerdine, 519) contributes to lack of mastery. It is, the, the venue of mastery that may alter the perception of male or female users. The role of female users and technology will not expand without an expansion of available entertainment technology venues.
Bibliography Bailey, Jane and Adrienne Telford. "What's So ‘Cyber’ about It?: Reflections on Cyberfeminism's Contribution to Legal Studies."Canadian Journal of Women & the Law: 2007, Vol. 19 Issue 2: p243-271, 29p Gemmill, Erin and Michael Peterson. “Technology Use Among College Students: Implications for Student Affairs Professionals.” 280-300. Napsa Journal, 2006, Vol 42 No. 2 Lagesen, Vivian. "A Cyberfeminist Utopia? Perceptions of Gender and Computer Science among Malaysian Women Computer Science Students and Faculty." Science, Technology, & Human Values. January 01, 2008 Vol. 33: 5-24.
Bibliography (cont…) Martins, Nicole and Dmitri Williams and Kiristen Harrison and RabindraRatan. “A Content Analysis of Female Body Imagery in Video Games.” Sex Roles Dec 2009, Vol. 61 Issue 11/12, p824-836. Su, Susan. “Who’s Using FacebookAround the World? The Demographics of Facebook’s Top 15 Country Markets.” June 8, 2010. www.insidefacebook.com Walkerdine, Valerie. “Young Girls Performing Femininity in Video Game Play.” Feminist Media Studies: December 2006 Vol 6 Issue 4 pg 519-537.